Renewable Energy In Florida
As you may know, the Florida legislature ended its legislative session on April 30, 2010. The session ended one day after Governor Crist set the political world in Florida and around the nation on its ears by announcing that his Candidacy for the U.S. Senate would be one which he would not run as a Republican, but a No Party Affiliation (NPA) or some would call "Independent" candidate.
The legislature dealt with a struggling economy and the need to put the budget together in a peice meal fashion. Then, there is a war in the Capital between the Executive and Legislative branches of government (more so than ever). This session will be best known for the bad blood between the legislature and Governor Crist and its controversal bills... mainly SB 6, a teach tenure bill. When it came to renewable energy, instead of relying upon proven policies that are working in other states such as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Public Benefits Funds, the house decided to pursue a strategy that would so called "incentivze" renewable energy. The bill was largely seen as a utility industry bill designed to provide IOU's additional profits and not create a competitive renewable energy market in Florida wherein independent renewable energy develpers could participate. Unfortunately, ALL IOU's where lambasted because of this bill. Additionally, the strategy outlined in the house bill aimed to eliminate any references in statute regarding directives to consider implementing an RPS. That bill, HB 7229 was not taken up by the senate after passing in the house as the press lambasted the bill. What the senate wanted to do instead was pass HB 7179, the PACE bill. The bill is designed to allow municiple government to finance renewable projects via bond issues. The truth is, local government can already do this. However, what the bill became was a vehicle to attach the industry friendly langauge from HB 7229 which would allow a direct pass through of cost to utilyty customers tpo pay the full cost of self built projects by utilties without review of cost and need by the Public Service Commission and with no cost containment measures. Many amendments where filed to the bill and most failed. Senator Bennett, who sheparded the bill through the senate, acknowledging the sentinent of the senate about passing what would amount to a rate increase onto the customers, reduced the size of the project for cost recovery and changed the language so that there would be some review from the Public Service Commission. It was then too late. Even briefly, language appeared in an amendment to HB 7179 for a voluntary Public Benefits Fund, which was pushed by FREPA member Representative Michelle Rewhinkle Vasalinda. The language was later stripped out.
Senator Lee Constantine, a "FREPA Champion", worked to pass a landmark recycling bill. Recycling is a policy that Sen. Constantine has committed to championing over the years. This years bill made the goals clear and achievable. The bill also maintained and enhanced the ability of waste to energy plants and biomass plants to get access to feedstock that often in up in municiple waste collection areas. FREPA policy staff is still summarizing passed bills and will be able to provide key points about passed bills in a seperate communication.
Work to be done:
What this legislative session revealed to us more than ever was that while we have supporters in the Florida legislature who get it, the ideological direction of our legislature and its future leaders create a duanting challenge. The challenge will not be overcome without steadfast unity and perseverance from the renewable energy lobby and a groundswell of support from voters. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to educate our leaders, make our case and try to seek out wins. But, without the major policy changes FREPA and others have sort out, we would only be playing around the edges, as important as that is. As we speek, solar companies are laying off employees and closing their doors, while biomass projects struggle to sell power to the grid. For that reason, FREPA has filed the Florida Clean Energy Intiative with the Florida Division of Elections to immediately begin work on a ballot intiative for and RPS and Public Benefits Fund.
We are eager to hear from you and enlist your continued support as we move forward with a better sense of purpose.
President and Founder
RENEWABLE ENERGY BALLOT MEASURE
There is a new Florida ballot initiative for the Florida renewable energy industry. FREPA Founder and President Michael Dobson is Chairing the "Florida Green Energy Intiative" which is a non-partisan group focused on placing two items on the ballot for the renewable energy industry as a constituitional amendments for 2012. The two proposed ballot measures are 1) a Florida Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard(RPS) to encourage more renewable energy production from independent developers and renewable energy business owners and, 2) the creation of a Clean Energy Fund (CEF) aka Public Benefits Fund so that there is a stable source of revenue to incentivize renewable production.
The "Florida Green Energy Initiative" will hire one of many experienced petition gatherng companies to secure the needed petitions. And, we will need the help of the people who make up the infrastructure of the renewable industry in Florida as well. We are closing in on a final choice for a vendor who will be charged with gathering petitions. We will make an announcement within a week. We need committee members. We are asking that all interested renewable energy business owners or executives sign on as committee members. Committee members, will be listed on the website with links to their business (unless otherwise advised not to). Additionally, committee members will be key to spreading the word about the initiative and educating all they come in contact with. Potential committee members can state their interest at Cynthia@Floridaenergyproducers.com.
The effort will also employ a professional fundraiser specific for this project. The campaign treasurer is Nancy F. Harrision, CPA of Pace ,Wadsworth and Humpries of Tallahassee. The effort will be managed by Robin Rorapaugh of Rorapaugh-Teicher, LLC. We have access to Florida's most experienced legal team to help craft the ballot language. As a private contractor for the effort, trusted legal council who is a private practice attorney and governmental relatons professional will be acting as our liaison to the hired legal experts experienced in the writing of ballot language. Other legal staff will be brought on board later.
This ballot initiative has mainly come about because it has become increasingly clear that perhaps this is the only way which we are to have policies in place to secure a vibrant and competitive renewable energy industry in Florida. Currently, the inability to get Purchase Power Agreements (PPA) has been a death nail to the renewable energy industry in Florida. The inability of biomass, waste to energy and solar projects (large and small) to secure PPA's and the absolute denial of access to the grid for renewable projects throughout most of Florida has hamstrong the states renewable energy industry for decades. An RPS is a proven policy and has worked to provide more grid access for independent producers around the country. Residential and commercial solar have the same challenges. Additionally, a Clean Energy Fund is critical to the stability of the solar industry.
The industry has to be supported by public policy which levels the playing field, promotes competition, encourages independent renewable production and allows the industry to grow. And perhaps, it could only be done via a ballot measure whereby the citizens get to weigh in. While this inititative has grown out of FREPA suggesting over time the need for such an initiative, this is seperate from the FREPA organization. This is a united effort among all renewable energy organizations and advocates throughout Florida. The Florida Green Energy Initiative is a Political Action Committee (PAC) and seperate entity that exist specifically for the sole mission of placing the (two) measures on the ballot and securing the requesite votes needed for passage. By Florida law, all ballot initiatives are funded through Political Action Committees (PAC) specific to their cause.
As ballot measures are single subject items, each petition will deal with its single subject... RPS and CEF. We are securing the website www.Floridagreenenergy.com specifically for the initiative. The site is now being developed and will be launched in another week. As you know, this is an expensive endeavor and will require your financial commitment. We can accept checks of a ANY size. All checks should be made out to Florida Green Energy Initiative. They should be mailed to 1040 E. Park Ave, Tallahassee Fl 32301 to the attention of Nancy Harrison, CPA . For now, inquiries about the initiative can be sent via e-mail to Michael@Floridaenergyproducers.com or phone him at (850) 443-3477
Note: the attached form could be completed and sent back by e-mail to FlaGreenenergy@yahoo.com
for processing of payment by credit card. Please allow 24 hrs for a payment confirmation
Articles from Florida 2010 Legislative Session
2010 FLORIDA LEGISLATURE:Sponsor drops offshore drilling plan for now
By BILL KACZOR - Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE - The House sponsor of legislation that would lift a ban on offshore drilling in Florida's state waters said Friday he was dropping the effort for this year but would try again in 2011.
Momentum for renewable-energy legislation lacking
By Mary Ellen Klas
TALLAHASSEE - In the last legislative session before his death, state Sen. Jim King tirelessly pushed for an energy compromise to reduce the amount of dirty fuel the state uses to produce electricity.
Florida solar energy projects move forward, but costs and oversight raise concerns
Critics warn of rate increases for customers
March 05, 2010|By Julie Patel, Sun Sentinel
The Sunshine State is poised to be the second largest solar energy producer in the country, thanks to three new Florida Power & Light plants that use glimmering rows of solar panels or mirrors to convert sunlight to power.Read More
House poised to give Florida utilities $772 million rate hike over three years
In a bill poised for passage in the House today, Florida's four largest utility companies would be allowed to circumvent regulators and raise electric rates on customers by $772 million by 2013, under a last-minute amendment tacked onto a renewable energy bill sought by the governor and Republican leaders.
House lowering price of renewable energy
Legislators were quietly boosting the price tag of creating renewable energy, and then had second thoughts.
BY MARY ELLEN KLASHerald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida legislators had second thoughts Monday about a plan to allow Florida's four largest utility companies to bypass the rate-setting process and raise customers' electric rates by $772 million for renewable energy projects by 2013.Read More
Clean energy measure slammed for "benefiting" utilities at customers' expense
Julie Patel on April 26, 2010 05:00 PM
The Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association -- made up of clean energy companies, construction companies and others -- slammed a House bill to increase the state's renewable energy production because of its costs, among other things. Read More
Controversial Renewable Energy Bill Clears Fla. House
04/27/2010South Florida Sun-Sentinel
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. _ A broad bill to boost the state's renewable energy supply that would allow utilities to pass along the costs to ratepayers with little regulatory oversight cleared the Florida House on Tuesday by an 83-to-34 vote and now moves to the Senate.
Argenziano blasts House leaders 'disturbing ignorance' on energy bill
In her characteristically colorful fashion, PSC Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano wrote to Senate President Jeff Atwater today complaining that House leaders never consulted with the experts at the PSC when it drafted its renewable energy bill -- which has one more chance to come up before the Senate on Friday.
Senate kills measure to boost renewable energy at utility customers' expense
Julie Patel on April 30, 2010 07:15 PM
The Legislature passed a renewable energy bill to allow local governments to provide loans to homeowners who install clean energy systems to their homes.
Renewable Energy Bills Mean 'Green' for Utilities
Renewable energy legislation is being hailed by Florida's big investor-owned utilities (IOUs) -- but not so much by small-scale producers who fear they'll be cut out of the action.
Still others say the bills could be doomed as bargaining chips in negotiations over offshore oil drilling next session.
House Passes Renewable-Energy Bill to Senate
The Legislature moved closer Tuesday to giving Florida's largest investor-owned utilities the power to raise rates as they gain ground in the state's renewable-energy sector.
Despite fears of imposing a new fee upon Florida taxpayers and putting smaller energy producers at a disadvantage, the House voted 83-34 to give the utilities the power to raise rates to fund renewable-energy projects. Read More
Nobody Greases the Political Machine Quite Like Big Power
Would be nice if legislators served constituents before themselves
Few spectacles these past two months have been as nauseating as Big Power's goose-stepping march through the Florida Legislature.
Actually, I've known whole countries that put up a lustier fight against the enemy than this group of grasping lawmakers did to protect Florida's long-suffering energy consumers.
THIRD ANNUAL SUNSHINE STATE RENEWABLE ENERGY EXPO AND SYMPOSIUM
After changes in the original dates, FREPA is hosting its Third Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo in Orlando Florida. It will take place at the Rosen Plaza Hotel on July 14th-15th.
The meetings focus will be on policy and renewable energy project financing strategies. There will be a large focus on the newly formed non partisan organization "Florida Green Energy Initiative's" renewable energy ballot measure for Florida. This is your opportunity to learn more, meet the team and get involved.
This will also be a formal kick-off to the ballot initiative inspired by FREPA founders and thier mutual partners
FREPA is now accepting applications for new board members and/or sub-committee members. If you are interested in serving on a committee or participating on our board or be an advisor, please send your bio to Cynthia@Floridaenergyproducers.com
Third Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo
and FREPA annual meeting
July 14, 2010
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
July 15, 2010
8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m.- 8:25 a.m.
Michael Dobson, President/CEO- Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association
Opening remarks by special guest speaker -TBA
Rep. Michelle Vasalinda- Invited
8:35 a.m.- 9:20 a.m. (Section A)
Best practices for renewable energy policy specific to electric generation sustainability and energy efficiency in Florida given current environment
Renewable project financing, PPA's ,contracting and its intersection with public policy
10:40 a.m. -11:25 a.m.
Renewable energy/ alternative fuels deployment barriers and opportunities
Rosen Plaza Hotel
11:35 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Update of Federal policy
12:25 p.m. -1:25 p.m. - Lunch Session
Panel discussion Renewable energy legislative caucus( invited members of senate and house)
1:35 p.m. - 2:10 p.m.
Messaging specific to communicating with Florida lawmakers..
2:15 p.m - 4:30 p.m.
Statewide Ballot Initiative: What it is, an overview of the plan, introduction to the team and how you can help
Closing remarks by Michael Dobson, President
4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Candidate Interviews by FREPA PAC members
FREPA Annual Board Meeting
9700 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Toll Free 1 (800) 627-8258
Fax: (407) 354-5774
Registration as an attendee is: $150.00 if registered by before June 5, 2010
* all FREPA members receive an additional 25% off attendance/registration fee
Pay Registration Online Here
Special room rate is $99.00 for attendeese
BE A SPONSOR
FREPA 2nd Annual Legislative Session Wrapup
"a part of sunshine state renewable energy series"
Last year, we held a legislative session wrap-up at the Sarasota Ritz Carlton. In attendance was Representative Doug Holder, Senator Nancy Detert, Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, FREPA's good friend Susan Glickman and other key renewable energy advocates and supporters. We then held similar meetings throughout the state through September of 2009.
This meeting allowed us to decompress from the legislative session and begin thinking of strategies moving forward and opportunities ahead. While the 2010 legislative session left much to be desired for renewable energy, we believe that it also placed a clear path in front of us.The will of leading Florida policymakers with regard to this industry is now better known.
5:30-7:00 Casual cocktail reception in FREPA meeting room (each attendee receives 1 drink tickets and cash bar available)
May 28 -29 2010
The Sarasota Ritz-Carlton
*coffee, tea, juice, pastries available in meeting room, hot and cold beverages available all day
May 29, 2010
8:00 -9:00- Registration
9:00 - Welcome -
9:15- 11:15 Overview and summary of legislative session. A description of the PACE bill, recycling legislation, any changes to permitting and movements in renewable fuels policy:
Discuss how session impacted or made no difference to or for:
Waste to Energy
and other technologies
Moderator and speakers TBA
11:30 - 1:30 Florida Green Energy Initiative- Ballot intitiative for Clean Energy Fund aka Public Benefits Fund and Renewable Energy Portfoil Standards
Over view by Chair of initiative, a member of legal team and one of its campaign consultants
1:45- 2:30 - Discuss the reaction to oil drilling catastrophe with respect to state level policy opportunities, how it may impact renewable energy policy and how Florida's congressional delegation may need our help.
Moderator and speakers TBA
Attendance Fee: $ 65.00
* FREPA members receive an additional 15% off attendance/registration fee
1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34236
Phone: (941) 309-2000
Fax: (941) 309-2100
Ask about special room rate
Join FREPA today or simply make a donation of support. Download NEW membership app HERE. The membership page on FREPA site is being updated to reflect new dues structure which better aligns with membership as refelected in the application linked. Donations could be made with same form. Please allow 24 hrs for all credit card s to be processed.
Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association